Music Reviews



Troum & Raison D'Être: De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 30 2015
cover
Artist: Troum & Raison D'Être
Title: De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu
Format: CD
Label: Essence Music (@)
Rated: *****
The meeting of Raison d'être, the industrial ambient brainchild of Swedish sound maker Peter Andersson named after a thought by Carl Gustav Jung - a major source of inspiration for the mental and introspective journeys that its listening could inspire -, and Troum, the well-known project by Bremen-based duo of drone architects Stefan "Baraka(H)" Knappe and Martin "Glit[S]ch" Gitschel that according to many listeners could be considered as the proper follow-up of their previous brainchild Maeror Tri, is one of those rare events, which can only deliver heady efflorescences and this sonic blossoming is so well accomplished that "De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu", which required four years of making, has the potential to be considered the proper masterpiece of respective discographies. The opening "Folia" could let you imagine they get closer to the shamanic nuances of more ritual-oriented relics of the genre, but the dynamics of the following long-lasting suite "Alio Tempore", where the slow repetition of highly reverberating bell and a very low thundering frequency got gradually submerged in an ecstatic overflowing pad-synth, which fills the sonic space, pushes listeners towards cosmic primeval wanderings by a planing organization of sound, whose "cath/ar(c)tic" effect seems to get reprised in the shortest delight provided on "Flammae", which follows the mystical heart of the release, the almost 40 minutes listening offered by the triptych of "Oculum Mundi" - sounding like the sonic mirroring of the boiling primordial ooze, getting electrified by some superior being for the creation of some universe -, "Atmosphaera" - the harmoniously confused amalgam of shining and gliding elements that seems to give a voice to the admirable miracle of creation - and "Meditationum", whose 20 minutes of dilating harmonies evoke the making of each (known and unknown) physicochemical state, and precedes the final "Ad Infinitum", which cannot be considered a proper final act, but rather the necessary junction of a looping cycle which doesn't really have an ending moment...
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Artist: Aeoga (@)
Title: Triangle Of Nebula-Devourers + Palace For Vultunales
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Another welcomed postcard from Finnish sonic underground recently reached my desk and group together a couple of older outputs by solo-project Aeoga of Aural Hypnox founder Anti Haapapuro, who decided to re-release "Palace For Vultunales" and "Triangle of Nebula-Devourers" ten years after their previously strictly limited edition (the former belonged to the deluxe boxset of "Zenith Beyond The Helix-Locus" - just 40 copies -, while the latter was limited to 100 CD-R copies) for Stellar Mansion series of the label by housing it in an silk-screen printed cardboard artwork that include four double-sided inserts of artwork and somehow explanatory words to describe each stage of these sonic entities in between dark ambient and ritual industrial. Such a stylistic hybridization is particularly clear on "Triangle of Nebula-Devourers", whose three long-lasting tracks could let you imagine it was recorded during a mysterious ritual by likewise mysterious entities in some hidden area of an abandoned factory during which obscure energies managed to shake the surrounding elements. Despite their somehow occult meaning, the descriptions of each stage of this rite are particularly fitted to what you are going to listen and sentences like "Silvery-eyed understand the language of those who are veiled in gold/Follow the ethereal currents to finally bath with the owl-eyed" (the words to describe "Menstrual Skull Consumed" or "Luminous desert of existence/Dual-directional roaming/through five nebulous five" (the description of "Let The Sun Become Your Eye") could stimulate your imagination, but certainly less the listening experiences that Aeoga provided over the thirty minutes of his recording. The sound of the two parts of "Palace For Vultunales" ("Palace For Vultures" and "Palace For Vulcanales") is definitively more ritual-oriented, but it's likewise obscure and powerfully imaginative - its sinister sumptuosity could be matched to a sort of aural training for some larger sweeping event by previously evoked deities-.

6Comm: One Mans Hel

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 08 2015
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Artist: 6Comm
Title: One Mans Hel
Format: CD
Label: Kenaz
Rated: *****
Active since 1986, they released the first album "Content With Blood" the year after. Now, after about thirty years of life, 6Comm is no more. Patrick Leagas decided that it was time to focus his energies on his other projects of the likes of: PatrickL (Spring 2016 will see released "Godlesstate 1", the first album under this moniker), Schrage Musik and Godlesstate. "One Mans Hel", then, will be the last album containing unreleased or new songs by 6Comm. Released as a six panel digipack with an 8 pages booklet containing lyrics and photos, the album contains eleven tracks written during the 1984-2015 period and never released before under this form. The album is reflecting how the project was sounding live during the last three years and it's musically split into three parts. The first part is made of four songs rhythmically driven which sound really powerful, thanks to pounding drums and bass. "One Mans Hel", "Angel Scream", "Red Cloak" and "Othila" sound angry and energetic and, the latter one, almost "rock", thanks to guitar arpeggios and distorted guitar riffs. I think that probably the lyrics focused on war and religion needed such atmospheres and they work really well. The second part is opened by a classic Death In June "Nada" song here revisited: "Doubt To Nothing", here is called "Doubt To Death" and it's sounding intimate and heartbreaking. Male and female vocals duet on a piano/strings background while the drum lines little by little are doubled just to end into a grand finale which slowly ends into silence. "What Time Is It", is sounding experimental and its looping synth droning sounds function as a background for layers of treated vocals, hisses and nightmarish atmospheres. "Kalashnikov Vodka Bar Mix" is a nice rework of "Kalashnikov Is My Friend", track coming from "Headless". This version is more focused on percussions and the different elements are better balanced. "Rosewood Cuts" alternates ambient synth sounds with Easter folk ballads atmospheres, creating, in this way, a particular dreamy effect where the lyrics sound like a poem ("You and we are lost / We'll find our kingdom at some cost / Our way is blocked by shiny things safe all locked / you want a taste of what you have been waiting for / The ring you kissed beneath the goats foot tail / Awaiting those finest thingstake your harvest from the woods"). "This Must Be Love" is another track which is sounding like a dreamy trip in balance from spoken word and a lysergic atmospheres. The last two songs, are forming the third part of the lot and have an acoustic arrangement. The effect created by the passionate way of singing the lyrics and the acoustic elements dueting on "Twisted Love" and "Dream 39" made me feel dizzy and immerse into a fluffy cloud. A nice thing about the photos of the booklet: the one you find on the first page, reveals how the "Content With Blood" cover born as, if you look carefully, you'll notice that the image reflected into the water is what Patrick used for cover. This, maybe, is only a way to close the circle and to go on with renewed energy. Only a note: reading my review you could think that the album is a collection of found tracks gathered here only to greet 6Comm, well, let me say that "One Mans Hel" doesn't sound nothing like that, as it sounds like an inspired album where Patrick wanted to experiment and succeeded into creating a convincing album full of fresh ideas. So long 6Comm and thanks for all the years of passion and music!

Halo Manash: Haudattujen Valvoja

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 04 2015
cover
Artist: Halo Manash
Title: Haudattujen Valvoja
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Springing liquids that sound coming from some unknown cave, an icy breathe from a mysterious entity that seems to possess the body of the performers, slow stroking low tones opens this new output by Halo Manash, the audiovisual and performative group that keeps on linking a certain creativity in making hand-crafted instrumentation (or other addressed into service tools, as their own introductory words say), that got more or less heavily modified by means of amps, amplified speakers and cabinets, and ritual archaic paths, which mange to evoke (or awake) somehow forgotten elemental forces. The first three of the seven tracks /the above-mentioned opening "Wesieni Wainajat", Aavet" (a moment which could surmise a kind of dornes close to some obscure outputs by Lustmord and Djinn) and "Swri Syvyys" (the moment when the low tones of the first two tracks seems to get annihilated before merging into a sort of shining obscure balance) were performed on live stafe in Finland, Germany and Russia during 2013, while some lucky people in Austria, Finland, Sweden and USA, who joined Halo Manash's private Temple Hwaar, intercepted the entrancing remaining four tracks of the second half of "Haudattujen Valvoja" between 2013 and 2014, whose igniting sparkles are the field recording of their own steps venturing into some unknown sacred wood, where you could almost feel the rising of natural spirits and forces that gradually begins a sort of entrancing choir, on the awesome "Kanto", a sort of wooden vibraphone on the title-track "Haudattujen Valvoja", very low tones that could surmise a cello on "Uhr-a-Usva" and a really hypnotical web of trembling subterranean bass frequencies and catchy ethereal sonic entities on the 14-minutes lasting final "Avanto". It could awake energies that contemporary schemes, rational and logical sedations and invasive worries anesthetized.

Gregoriev: When Death Comes

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 16 2015
cover
Artist: Gregoriev (@)
Title: When Death Comes
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
From Warsaw (Warszawa), Poland comes Gregoriev, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Grzegorz Morawski, who has been on the Polish underground metal and rock stage since 2002 as a founder and member of numerous musical acts, such as Ex Anima, Second Nation, Tandeta and, lately, Skóra Åwiata, for which he remains an active lead guitarist. 'When Death Comes' is his first album release under the Gregoriev name, and it's Gothic Metal inspired by the novel 'From the Teeth of Angels' by Jonathan Carroll. (It's a quirky tale of four people's supernatural confrontation with the malevolent angel of death.)

I don't know if it's Grzegorz on the album playing and singing all the parts, but it does sound like a full band. In any case, Gregoriev makes an impact on opening track "Letter", which is accentuated by a fingerpicked electric guitar riff throughout over the goth metal format. Vocals are a bit different on this track any other on the album, and the hook is a good one. There is a spoken word voice-over at times during the music that I'm not sure whether is a dialogue sample or Grzegorz, but it's effective. Towards the end the instrumentation plays double-time (but not the fingerpicked riff), a technique Morawski
must really enjoy because he uses it frequently later on. "Beauty" which follows, has another significant guitar riff as its centerpiece, this time bluesy, and now we get to hear Morawski's singing as it throughout most of the the rest of the album. There is a Nick Cave-like quality to his voice, more in delivery than tone. It's actually quite enjoyable. The song has a decent hook, and the Strawberry Fields-ish flutotron is a nice touch. "Hollow Hand" reminds me of The Cure wrapped in a package with a metal bow. At this point I come to realize that Morawski is a pretty good songwriter as well as a capable and effective vocalist. "War" is proggy goth speed metal and at first Grzegorz's voice doesn't seem right for the material, then he turns his smooth, melodic pipes into a death metal growl and of course, it fits like a glove. He also offers up a blistering solo on this track proving his guitar prowess. Nice work. Title track "When Death Comes" has some nice moments in the guitar interludes but is otherwise a bit of a letdown. (This song might have worked better with a female lead vocal.) "Deceit" is a pretty cool prog-goth number that's powerful on the instrumental breaks, but vocally, a bit weak. Still, it has a certain charm. Final track, "Peace" is sort of a macabre power ballad remaining true to its theme throughout and a fitting conclusion to 'When Death Comes'.

For a debut album, this is quite good, especially in the playing, arrangement, recording, etc.) and is likely to grow on you as well. I should make mention of the keyboard work which adds atmosphere, depth and style. For those looking for something new and different on the goth-metal genre, Gregoriev would be a very good choice. I understand Morawski's in the process of putting together a live band, so nearby Europeans may be in for a treat. America might have to wait awhile, but by then Gregoriev will likely be a much more known quantity.


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